Jing Zhuge to Examine Role of the House in Late Imperial China in September 1 Lecture

IdentityMorality_flatArchitectural historian Jing Zhuge, associate professor in the School of Architecture, Southeast University, Nanjing, will present a lecture on Thursday, September 1, from 12:15-1:30 pm in Buttrick Hall 123. The title of her lecture is “Identity, Morality and Domesticity: A Merchant’s House in 16th- and 17th-century North China in The Plum in the Golden Vase.”

Sponsored by the Department of History of Art and the Asian Studies Program, her talk is about a Chinese businessman’s house based on the famous late 16th-century novel, The Plum in the Golden Vase (Jinpingmei 金瓶梅). Jing Zhuge will examine the architecture and activities within three different parts of the hero’s house as to social networks, family structure, and gender relationships in the late Ming dynasty.

She will address the following issues: How did the notions of family, gender and morality shape the idea of domesticity at the time the novel was written? How did the physical form of the house articulate and serve these ideas? Finally, this research will reveal that a house in late imperial China was not a refuge for people to hide from society as modern houses are. Instead, the most important aspect of dwellings and houses was to integrate the family into the society for external approval and respect.

Her main fields of research are the social significance of architecture in history, the historiography of Chinese architecture, and the reconstruction of traditional Chinese concepts of architecture.